Glow Acupuncture & Wellness Center

Welcoming Colleen Houston, RMT to Glow Acupuncture & Wellness Center

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Colleen graduated from the 3000 hour program at the West Coast College of Massage Therapy in 2008 and has been practicing in the Yaletown area since.  She has broadened her knowledge in the field by taking continuing educational courses in Myofascial Release, Sports Massage, and most recently, to further her understanding of human anatomy, she has taken a series of sectional cadaver dissections.  Colleen is also currently working towards her degree in Health Sciences through Thompson River University.

Her passion and dedication to helping people through massage therapy has given Colleen success in treating many conditions, most commonly, postural dysfunctions, sports injuries, headaches, pregnancy, chronic pain disorders and whiplash. Colleen takes each client case individually and through a thorough history and assessment, she is able to choose an appropriate treatment plan for each client.

During her treatments Colleen will use a combination of the following techniques:

*Swedish techniques

*deep tissue massage

* myofascial release

*trigger point release

*neuro-muscular techniques (NMT)

*muscle energy techniques (MET)

*passive and active stretching

Along with what is done during the treatment, Colleen will provide each client with specific ergonomic adjustments, muscle stretching and strengthening regimes to prolong and maintain their progress outside of the treatment room.

Outside of the clinic Colleen works as a clinic instructor with Utopia Academy, where she currently supervises and evaluates students at an outreach setting, working with people who have HIV/AIDS, or living with a terminal illness such as Cancer.  She is also dedicated to the local sports community, previously having worked with the Vancouver Whitecaps, she loves to be on the scene providing pre and post event massage therapy, so you can find her at many of the running events around the city, if she is not participating in them herself. On her days off colleen enjoys being around the city, going for a run on the sea wall, enjoying good food and company, going for a hike and hanging out at the dog park with her favorite companion.

 

To book an appointment, do so on-line or contact Colleen directly:

 

colleenhoustonrmt@gmail.com

604-999-3940

 

It’s nearly Spring – Move Your Qi!

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Wood Element:

Emotions: Anger, Stress, Resentment, Pent-up emotions, ability to control all of the emotions
Related organs: Liver (yin)/Gallbladder(yang)
Season: Spring
Taste: Sour
Body tissue: Tendons
Direction: East
Change: Birth
Color: Green
Climatic Qi: Wind
Sound: Shouting
Smell: Rancid
Sense organ: Eyes

Move Your Qi

When our energy does not move, it becomes stagnant. This is true for the body, mind and spirit. Patients always seem surprised when I inform them that the way that we think and feel predetermine the health of our bodies. Somewhere in our lives many of us lost our innocence and forgot how tightly intertwined we are, physically, mentally and spiritually.

When I studied Comparative Medical History, I learned where in history western medicine took on a different path of the world’s other medical practices, including Chinese medicine. The body had become separate from the mind and spirit. This was due primarily to newly instated religious doctrines. The beauty of Chinese medicine is that the body, mind and spirit have always been revered as one entity; never separate entities.

I named my website MOVE YOUR QI because that is what EVERY practitioner of Chinese medicine does. Acupuncture moves qi. Herbs work on qi also, but it also has a more profound effect on the fluids of the body, such as blood and phlegm.

Why is moving qi extremely important? Because qi = energy, which is a very loose translation from Chinese to English. We do not want qi to become stagnant. Stagnant qi is one way for the body’s health to decline very fast.

The standard emotion for the wood element is anger. In my practice, I include the other emotions stated above. It was what my teachers had taught me and what I have observed over the past nine years in practice.

I understand anger, pent-up emotions, stress, resentment, which end up causing me to be unable to control all of my other emotions. I was raised in a home of domestic violence. I read a bumper sticker the other day that stated, “THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.” The statement, driven by a man in charge of his large street-cleaning machine, brought me to grateful tears. I survived my horrid past. My life is pure alchemy. Like a lotus, I have grown and blossomed from the mud that life had dealt me from birth. I trudged in that mud well into my 20s. For those who can relate, we all must know that the only way we can live without stagnant qi is by forgiving the past, EVEN when the person(s) who abused us does not feel that they need or want forgiveness. The only person one requires to accept completely in order to live in good health is one’s self.

One of my first classes in college was a class on building self-esteem. It was a mandatory class required by my university. My homework every day was to look at myself in the mirror and state:

“I LOVE MYSELF FOR WHO I AM. I AM GREAT.”

Because I usually was a very good student, I did my homework. This one, I did not like. I lied to myself every day. I felt angry and ashamed of my past because of too many memories that should never be spoken out loud. My broken heart felt empty. The ruins of my past haunted me every moment and though it looked on the outside like I kept everything together, I did not even know myself well enough to realize how much I allowed my childhood to depress me more and more every day. This simple homework activity was my first exposure in moving my qi. I said that statement every day, initially lying to myself, until I finally believed how much I must love myself if what I really want to do in life is to thrive. My anger and depression began to lift, though at age 18, there were many more years of work to do in order to become completely healthy.

Being a devout child to religion helped me to survive, but it did not cure my hidden insanity. My religion and my faithful practices did not bring me into conscious awareness. God taught me outside His house and worldly doctrines how I would grow into the individual that He had meant for me to become. The people that I had begun to attract into my life moved my qi. Their inspirations showed me the beauty of God’s creation. The moment I decided to let go of all stagnation in my life, the right people at the right time in the right places came to me. Chinese medicine came to me. There was something in Chinese medicine that made me whole. There was nothing wrong in my personal religion and there was nothing missing in my worship. What was missing was a complete understanding of how only I can allow my qi to move. God can only give a person the tools to heal. It is up to the individual to use her freedom of will to allow herself to heal.

I mention religion because people come to me for help with their health issues and I ask them, “What do you think is the lesson to learn from this issue? Why do you think life is teaching you this lesson?” The natural response for most devout religious worshipers is, “I don’t know. I have no clue why God is doing this to me. This must be what He wants me to go through.” It is as if many of us succumb to the idea that God wants us to suffer without trying to think outside of the box to help heal ourselves. I believe that God gave us many languages to make us a more colorful world. I believe that God gave us many types of healing therapies as a way to help us work together in order to find the different keys that open up the pathways to authentic healing. I do not believe that when we are afflicted with a disease, no matter how slight or severe, that we are meant to surrender to our bodies’ afflictions. I believe that when disharmony happens in our bodies, it is God saying to us, “Listen to what I am telling you. There is a lesson to learn from this. I am giving you an opportunity to learn, grow and transform.” So many of us push ourselves emotionally and physically to the point that we are helplessly exhausted. The law of detachment does not resonate with some of us. When someone offends us, we take it so personally that the initial offense causes us to create unnecessary resentment. Unchecked resentment easily leads way to anger. Anger, like fire, can move so fast and affect every aspect of our lives. Fire diminishes water. Yang consumes yin. There is no more balance in a person’s body. The origin of the disharmony began with the emotions being unchecked. It would be ideal if before our health declines, we ask ourselves if being angry is worth the suffering that we may eventually experience. Why do so many of us behave self-destructively? We see this on an individual level and as a behavior of empires. In the midst of chaos, we rarely see clearly that self-righteousness is the nemesis to humility. Which is more important to you? Is it more important to be justified, while holding on to anger, resentment and an air of self-righteousness or to develop healthy and happy relationships with those you care about most and possibly with people who may end up becoming good friends?

We can fight for a cause without letting anger consume us. Diplomacy is the key. We can practice this in our daily lives, make our point and live more healthily than if we argue to a point where it causes headaches, migraines, indigestion, menstrual issues, miscarriages, fertility issues, hypertension, congenital heart disease and a myriad of other serious health issues. We do not always have to be right. This is not an ideal world, though hopeful people like me believe that trying is better than full-speed destruction. There are people like me, even if few, who believe that letting go of anger and resentment brings a dichotomy of ideas together and can eventually lead to peace of mind, freedom of the individual and ultimate healing of the spirit. The spirit leads the mind and the mind leads the body. The body shows manifestations of disharmonies in the spirit and mind.

Imagine a world where our spirits are detached from anger, resentment, depression and the inability to control our emotions. It is a healthier world. A happier world. A world where qi moves freely and nothing is stagnant. And it could only happen with one person at a time.

Move your qi. It is the healthy way to live.

~By Anna at Elements In Harmony

Treatment of Neurological Disorders with Acupuncture

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Treatment of Neurological Disorders with Acupuncture
By: Acufinder Staff Writer

A neurological disorder refers to a problem with the nervous system, which is a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates the body’s activities. Nerve pain can arise from trauma, inflammation, stroke, disease, infection, nerve degeneration, exposure to toxic chemicals, and nutrient deficiencies.

Nerve pain is usually a sharp shooting pain or a constant burning sensation. Typically occurring in the same location with each episode, it can often be traced along the nerve pathway. Sometimes weakness or impaired function in the affected area occurs and the skin may be either overly sensitive or numb.

Some common neurological disorders acupuncture treats include:

Peripheral Neuropathy – damage to the peripheral nervous system, which transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to every other part of the body. Neuropathy caused by diabetes often affects the feet.

Trigeminal Neuralgia – facial pain, sometimes called Tic Douloureux, affects the trigeminal nerve which is responsible for impulses of touch, pain, pressure and temperature sent to the brain from the face, jaw, and gums.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – also known as median nerve entrapment, it occurs when swelling or irritation of the nerve or tendons in the carpal tunnel results in pressure on the median nerve.

Headaches – Headaches that can be treated with acupuncture include migraines, tension headaches, headaches occurring around the menstrual cycle, sinus headaches and stress-related headaches.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine have been found effective as a conjunctive therapy for neurological disorders and in treating pain and inflammation.  Visit Glow Acupuncture & Wellness Center today to learn more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be integrated into your neurological health plan!

Read more about acupuncture and Oriental medicine for neurological disorders:

Acupuncture for Neurological Pain

Treating Peripheral Neuropathy with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Headaches

Use your hands to relieve tension headaches naturally

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(NaturalNews) Sooner or later, we all get headaches. Usually, we tend to shut down the pain by taking an over-the-counter drug. Drugs are usually pretty good at removing pain, but they do not address the root cause of the problem and often cause unwanted side effects. Pain is actually very important because it is one way our body communicates a problem with us. By taking a drug to remove the pain, we only dull our senses. However, if we take the time to learn the language of our bodies, we can understand what the causes of our headaches are and address them directly. This is by far the healthiest course of action.

In the case of tension headaches, the culprit is usually tension in the upper back, shoulder and neck muscles. Here are six simple steps that will reduce or remove the pain associated with tension headaches:

1) To start, take yourself away from the computer screen, get comfortable and close your eyes gently. Take a deep breath and let out a long and relaxing sigh as you drop and relax your shoulders. Repeat this 3-4 times or as many times as you like.

2) Use your focus to release the tension in your upper body. Start with your face – take a few seconds to release all muscular tension and completely relax. Then move in a general backwards direction, continuing at the top of your head and then moving to the back of your head. Follow with your neck and finally your shoulders and upper back. Allow a few moments to completely relax each area.

3) Locate acupuncture point GB-20 on either side of the spine on the back of your neck just under the edge of your skull. Press firmly and deeply with your thumbs for about 1 or 2 minutes while keeping your breath gentle, deep and relaxed.

4) Put your hand on the back of your neck. Use four fingers on one side and the heel of your palm on the other side to grasp your neck. Start at the top of your neck and work your way down. Use firm pressure to grasp and then release the muscles a few times before moving down about a finger width and repeating. Massage all the way to the base of your neck about 5-10 times or until your hand gets tired, then switch hands and repeat.

5) Locate Acupuncture point GB-21 on the top of your shoulders half way from your spine to the outer edge of your shoulder. With the same “grasping” technique as #2, massage the muscle at GB-21 with the opposite hand for about 30 seconds to one minute. It will feel quite tender and sore since the muscles may be very tense. During the massage stay relaxed with soft and deep breathing. Switch sides and repeat.

6) Roll your shoulders in large slow circles to stretch and relax any tension that may be left in your shoulders and upper back. Roll them 5 -10 times in each direction while you keep your breathing even and relaxed. To finish, roll your head very gently around in a circle 5-10 times and then switch directions.

At this point, your tension headache should be either reduced or gone. If it is not, wait a few minutes and try again. However, this time do each step for twice as long and make sure to breathe in a deep but relaxed manner. Put an effort into becoming aware of any tension that you may be unknowingly holding in your body and let it go.

GB-20 and GB-21

Deadman, Peter (1998) A Manual of Acupuncture. England, Journal of Chinese Medicine.
Xiangcai, Xu (2002) Chinese Tui Na Massage. Boston, YMAA Publication.
Yang, Jwing-Ming (1989) The Root of Chinese Qigong. Boston, YMAA Publication.

About the author

Dave Gabriele, D.Ac, BA, is a registered acupuncturist, a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine and a health researcher helping people in and around the Greater Toronto Area. He is the founder of Life Balance Family Health Care (www.balanceyourlife.ca), an organization committed to providing people with the information and guidance they need to make positive lifestyle changes. Dave has been a teacher of Chinese martial arts since 1997, including the arts of Taiji and Qigong.

Are You Ready for the Flu Season?

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Seasonal Changes Affect the Body’s Environment.  When the hot days of summer give way to cooler temperatures, and the first windy and rainy days roll in, we become more susceptible to colds, flu and aches and pains – especially if we’ve forgotten to take a jacket or sweater to work with us.

Acupuncture for Prevention

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can prevent colds and flu by building up the immune system with just a few needles inserted into key points along the body’s energy pathways. These points are known for strengthening the circulation of blood and energy and for consolidating the outer defense layers of the skin and muscle so that germs and viruses cannot enter through them. Seasonal treatments just four times a year also serve to tonify the inner organ systems and can correct minor annoyances before they become serious problems. The ultra- thin needles don’t hurt and are inserted just under the skin. The practitioner may twist or “stimulate” them once or twice and they are removed within ten to twenty minutes.

Herbal Remedies

There is a one thousand year old Chinese herbal formula that forms a handy complement to these immune-boosting treatments and it is elegantly entitled The Jade Windscreen Formula. It is made up of just three herbs: Radix Astragalus, Atractylodis Macrocephalae, and Radix Ledebouriellae. These three powerful herbs combine together to tonify the immune system, strengthen the digestive system (so that we can be sure to gain the nutrients from our food), and fortify the exterior of the body so that we can fight off wind-borne viruses and bacteria. This handy formula which comes in pill, capsule or liquid form can be taken for a few days each month to stave off colds or flu or when there’s been a challenging work-load, or perhaps some loss of sleep.

Get Better Faster

If you’ve already happened to catch that cold, acupuncture and herbal medicine can also help with the chills, sniffles, sore throat or fever in a safe, non-toxic way that doesn’t ‘t bombard your body with harmful antibiotics.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine has been around for over 1000 years and recently many Americans have begun to enjoy the healthful and calming benefits it has to offer. Besides colds and flu, acupuncture treats various other conditions , including arthritis and pain, digestive difficulties, men’s and women’s reproductive health problems as well as mild to moderate psychological disturbances. Acupuncture helps balance the major systems of the body including the hormonal, endocrine and nervous systems and is excellent for stress and insomnia.

Acupuncture does not interfere with Western medical treatment. On the contrary, it provides a welcome complement to it in most cases, and with its emphasis on treating the whole person, recovery time for illness is often shortened.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is an art and a science that takes years to master. Look for an acupuncturist with experience in the treatment of colds and flus on www.Acufinder.com.

By: Joey Komada, L.Ac.

A short history of a long history of healing

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History

 

The Compendium of Materia Medica is a pharmaceutical text written by Li Shizhen (1518-1593 AD) during the Ming Dynasty of China. This edition was published in 1593.


Acupuncture chart from Hua Shou (fl. 1340s, Ming Dynasty). This image from Shi si jing fa hui (Expression of the Fourteen Meridians). (Tokyo: Suharaya Heisuke kanko, Kyoho gan 1716).

The first traces of therapeutic activities in the territories that are now considered China date from the Shang dynasty (14th-11th centuries BCE). Though the Shang did not have a concept of “medicine” as distinct from other fields, their oracular inscriptions on bones and tortoise shells refer to illnesses that affected the Shang royal family: eye disorders, toothaches, bloated abdomen, etc., which Shang elites usually attributed to curses sent by their ancestors. There is no evidence that the Shang nobility used herbal remedies.

Stone and bone needles found in ancient tombs have made Joseph Needham speculate that acupuncture might have originated in the Shang dynasty. But most historians now make a distinction between medical lancing (or bloodletting) and acupuncture in the narrower sense of using metal needles to treat illnesses by stimulating specific points along circulation channels (“meridians”) in accordance with theories related to the circulation of Qi. The earliest evidence for acupuncture in this sense dates to the second or first century BCE.

The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon, the oldest received work of Chinese medical theory, was compiled around the first century BCE on the basis of shorter texts from different medical lineages. Written in the form of dialogues between the legendary Yellow Emperor and his ministers, it offers explanations on the relation between humans, their environment, and the cosmos, on the contents of the body, on human vitality and pathology, on the symptoms of illness, and on how to make diagnostic and therapeutic decisions in light of all these factors. Unlike earlier texts like Recipes for Fifty-Two Ailments, which was excavated in the 1970s from a tomb that had been sealed in 168 BCE, the Inner Canon rejected the influence of spirits and the use of magic. It was also one of the first books in which the cosmological doctrines of Yinyang and the Five Phases were brought to a mature synthesis.

The Treatise on Cold Damage Disorders and Miscellaneous Illnesses was collated by Zhang Zhongjing sometime between 196 and 220 CE, at the end of the Han dynasty. Focusing on drug prescriptions rather than acupuncture, it was the first medical work to combine Yinyang and the Five Phases with drug therapy. This formulary was also the earliest Chinese medical text to group symptoms into clinically useful “patterns” (zheng 證) that could serve as targets for therapy. Having gone through numerous changes over time, it now circulates as two distinct books: the Treatise on Cold Damage Disorders and the Essential Prescriptions of the Golden Casket, which were edited separately in the eleventh century, under the Song dynasty.

In the centuries that followed the completion of the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon, several shorter books tried to summarize or systematize its contents. The Canon of Problems (probably second century CE) tried to reconcile divergent doctrines from the Inner Canon and developed a complete medical system centered on needling therapy. The AB Canon of Acupuncture and Moxibustion (Zhenjiu jiayi jing 針灸甲乙經, compiled by Huangfu Mi sometime between 256 and 282 CE) assembled a consistent body of doctrines concerning acupuncture; whereas the Canon of the Pulse (Maijing 脈經; ca. 280) presented itself as a “comprehensive handbook of diagnostics and therapy.”

Famous historical physicians

These include Zhang Zhongjing, Hua Tuo, Sun Simiao, Tao Hongjing, Zhang Jiegu and Li Shizhen.